Are you trying to decide between the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag Plus? As Samsung’s flagship Bluetooth trackers, these devices help you locate lost items like keys or wallets through your smartphone.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the SmartTag vs SmartTag Plus to help you determine the right choice for your needs and budget.
Overview of the Key Differences
Before diving into the details, here’s a quick look at how the standard SmartTag and SmartTag Plus compare:
- The SmartTag Plus has wider detection range and added ultra-wideband support. The AR finder can pinpoint locations within 15m.
- Both have the same 120m Bluetooth LE range, Find My Network integration, ringtone features and IoT automation options.
- The Plus costs $10 more given its enhanced hardware. The standard SmartTag provides good value for more basic tracking needs.
- Battery life is shorter on the SmartTag Plus since UWB is a battery drain. Plan on more frequent battery swaps.
- For UWB tracking, you need a newer Samsung device like Galaxy S21 or Note 20. The standard SmartTag works with any BLE-enabled Galaxy device.
Now let’s explore those key factors in-depth to determine if the SmartTag Plus upgrade is worthwhile for you.
Detailed Comparison of Features
Detection Range and Technology
The core differences between the SmartTag vs SmartTag Plus comes down to detection range and technology:
- Bluetooth LE Range: Both models use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5.0 and have a range of around 120m in ideal conditions. This allows you to track items when in regular Bluetooth range. For other long-range trackers, see our guide on GPS pet trackers without monthly fees.
- Ultra-Wideband: The SmartTag Plus adds ultra-wideband radio technology for more precise tracking. It enables AR-based tracking to locate items within a 15m radius.
- Galaxy Find Network: If a tagged item goes out of Bluetooth range, both tap into Samsung’s nationwide network to locate it. This uses connectivity from other Galaxy devices.
For most people, the 120m Bluetooth LE range on both trackers will meet basic needs for keeping track of everyday items around the home or office.
But the Ultra-Wideband radio on the SmartTag Plus offers next-level tracking if an item goes missing farther away or you need precise AR-based tracking. This is handy if you frequently misplace important items in public places too.
Tracking and Finding Features
To turn up a missing item, the SmartTag and SmartTag Plus offer similar core features:
- SmartThings app: Allows seeing locations on a map, making the tag ring, customizing ringtones.
- Ring tone: Ring the tag by making it buzz, flash and emit a loud 90+ decibel sound. Choose from 8 presets.
- Last location: View the last known location on a map if the item goes out of Bluetooth range.
- Notification history: Check past notifications about when the tag was detected and notified your phone.
- AR Finder: Only on the SmartTag Plus. Provides an augmented reality overlay and directions to pinpoint the exact location within 15m.
- Galaxy Find Network: When out of Bluetooth range, leverages nationwide network to locate tags based on connectivity from other devices.
Both SmartTag models provide the core essentials for tracking down your valuables if they go missing. But the AR Finder on the SmartTag Plus is a game-changer for pinpointing exact locations, especially if the item is harder to spot.
Design, Durability and Customization
The SmartTag and SmartTag Plus sport nearly identical designs:
- Dimensions: The Plus is slightly larger (46 x 46 x 10.5mm vs 39 x 39 x 9.8mm)
- Colors: Each comes in black plus one other color option (Oatmeal and Denim Blue).
- Materials: Made from plastic with keychain hole for attachment. Rated IP53 for dust and water resistance.
- Battery: Uses replaceable CR2032 coin batteries. Lasts approximately 1 year.
- Customization: Change the ringtones and notification sounds in the SmartThings app.
Since both models have compact, minimalist designs and are resistant to dust and moisture, they can easily attach to keychains, zippers, collars and more.
The Plus version is larger in order to accommodate the added UWB antenna and deliver enhanced performance. But the difference is minor visually.
One of the biggest perks of the Samsung trackers is deep integration with the SmartThings ecosystem:
- Smart home automation: Press the SmartTag button to trigger routines, like turning on lights or activating cameras.
- Galaxy smartphone: Seamlessly tracks items and provides alerts through the SmartThings Find app.
- Galaxy Watch: Get notifications of last known location right on your wrist.
- Family connection: Share SmartTags with family to collaborate.
- Scene automation: Program trackers to activate scenes, like Bedtime mode, when tapped.
This makes the SmartTag lineup the premier choice for Samsung-centric households. The capabilities expands significantly when coupled with SmartThings devices and scenes.
Privacy and Security
Samsung built privacy measures into the SmartTag and SmartTag Plus:
- Location data is encrypted and stored only temporarily on Samsung’s secured AWS servers.
- The tags use randomized device IDs that change every 15 minutes for anonymity.
- Only the owner who registered the SmartTag can view location and manage settings.
- Tap the tag 3 times quickly to put into privacy lock mode until unlocked again.
- Guests can be granted temporary access to view or manage a SmartTag if owner allows it.
So users need not worry about tracking data being intercepted or misused. Samsung designed its trackers with privacy top of mind.
Key Differences Summary
To recap, here are the core differences between the standard Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and upgraded SmartTag Plus:
|Bluetooth LE: 120m
|Bluetooth LE: 120m
|Bluetooth LE 5.0
|Bluetooth LE 5.0 + Ultra-Wideband
|Augmented Reality Finder
In a nutshell, the Plus model costs a bit more but adds UWB tracking and AR finding capabilities for greater accuracy when pinpointing lost items. Just be prepared to swap batteries more often.
Do You Need the SmartTag Plus?
The SmartTag Plus is better suited for:
- Those wanting precise AR-based tracking instead of just general proximity.
- Frequently losing important items like wallets, keys, and purses in public places. Our reviews of the best AirTag holders showcase accessory options.
The standard SmartTag makes sense for:
- Basic tracking of items within regular Bluetooth range around the home.
- Users who don’t require ultra-precise finding powered by AR.
- Budget shoppers looking for an affordable way to monitor valuables.
Unless you specifically need the increased accuracy and AR finder, the SmartTag provides ample functionality for keeping tabs on your essentials for less money.
Tips for Using Samsung SmartTags
Here are some pro tips for getting the most from your SmartTags:
- Register each tag in the SmartThings app for enhanced security.
- Utilize SmartThings automations to activate lights, cameras, routines and more when pressing the SmartTag.
- Attach SmartTags to keychains, purses, backpacks and more using cases, sleeves or lanyard straps.
- Purchase multiple SmartTags for keeping track of items that commonly go missing like remote controls.
- Replace batteries annually or biannually to maintain tracking reliability.
- Grant family temporary access when traveling together to collaborate.
- Customize notification tones and ringtones so they stand out when triggered.
Q: How do the SmartTags compare to other popular trackers like Tile or Chipolo?
A: Our reviews compare the SmartTags to alternatives like Tile, Chipolo, and Apple AirTags. Samsung’s trackers are optimized for Galaxy users, while Tile and Chipolo work across platforms. This Chipolo vs SmartTag comparison explores the differences.
Q: Can SmartTags be used to track people or pets?
A: Samsung does not recommend using SmartTags to track people, pets or vehicles. They are designed for locating lost objects only. For pet tracking, consider a dedicated GPS pet tracker.
Q: What Samsung devices are compatible?
A: The SmartTags work with any Galaxy smartphone running Android 8.0 or higher. But Ultra-Wideband support on the SmartTag Plus is limited to newer models like the S21, Fold and Note 20 series.
Q: What happens if a lost item is far away or offline?
A: The Galaxy Find Network leverages connectivity from other devices to help locate tags. And you can still view the last known location on the map.
Q: Can SmartTags connect to iOS or other devices?
A: Unfortunately SmartTags only work with Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets due to their proprietary integration and Find My Network requirements.
The Bottom Line
The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag Plus provide convenient tracking for valuable possessions. The Plus model justifies its higher cost with wider detection range, ultra-wideband radio technology and enhanced AR-based tracking.
But the standard SmartTag still gets the job done for basic item monitoring needs. Ultimately, choose the SmartTag Plus if pinpointing exact locations or future-proofing for UWB matters. Otherwise, save money with the standard version.